University of Canberra: UC Chancellor becomes the first Aboriginal Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science

The University of Canberra extends congratulations to its Chancellor, Professor Tom Calma AO, who was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science today.

Professor Calma is the first Fellow in the academy who identifies as an Aboriginal person, and was elected for his efforts in championing the health, education and justice of Indigenous peoples.

A descendant of the Kungarakan and Iwaidja tribal groups, Professor Calma said he was honoured to have been recognised by the Academy.

“It’s a real honour to be recognised as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, not to mention as the first to represent those who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander,” he said.

“While we still have a way to go, I am proud of the progress I have made, with the help of those around me, towards better outcomes for Indigenous people.”

Professor Calma had a long and successful career in the Australian Public Service before becoming the University’s Chancellor in 2014, but his resume has only grown since then.

He was awarded an Indigenous Allied Health Australia Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 and was later appointed as the inaugural Patron of Indigenous Allied Health Australia in 2017.

More recently, Professor Calma was Chief Investigator in a Collaborative Indigenous Research Initiative, focused on the management of scabies in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Professor Calma has also been integral in implementing the University’s Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2021 – 2024, which aims to enhance education outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and incorporate the culture into curriculum, among other things.

“We at UC have a phenomenal attitude towards recognising the First Peoples, and not only just recognising, but also putting in place practices to educate the community,” he said.

“It’s great to see the passion I have in my work and my life reflected at the University and I am incredibly proud of that.”

Professor Calma is joined by 21 other researchers from across Australia, who were elected into the academy this morning, with the University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Paddy Nixon extending his congratulations.

“There is no doubt that Professor Calma deserves this recognition as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, for the work he has achieved within and outside our University,” he said.

“He is an asset to our community, and we look forward to continuing to see the impact he has at the University of Canberra.”